MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia hopes that its cooperation with Norway will broaden in the near future as both countries have similar socio-economic objectives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"The abundant natural resources present in both countries and similar socio-economic objectives stipulate close cooperation," Lavrov said in an interview with the Verdens Gang (VG) Norwegian newspaper.
The Russian Foreign Minister noted that despite the "artificial constraints" that some areas of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Norway have been subject to, Russia hopes that its "partner relations" with Norway will broaden in the" near future".
According to Lavrov, "such highly important areas as effective and environmentally safe development of oil and gas fields and the development of the transport and logistics system which is linked to more active economic use of the Far North" should be the focus of Russian-Norwegian relations and anything that hampers cooperation in these spheres works against the interests of both countries.
Norway tightened economic sanctions against Russia earlier this month, bringing its restrictive measures in line with the latest round of EU sanctions, introduced in September.
Although it is not part of the European Union, Norway has been imposing sanctions against Russia along with EU member-states, the United States, and their allies, over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and has stressed that the sanctions regime is counterproductive and hurts the countries that are using it.
In response to Western sanctions Russia has banned certain food imports from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.